Richmond Barracks

Writing Journeys with Culture Connects by MJ O’Brien

Culture Connects is a year-round programme that invites people in Dublin to try out new things. Often, when participants join a Culture Connects class or workshop, it leads to other opportunities and a whole new cultural adventure unfolds!

Below, MJ O’Brien, who first joined a writing workshop in Richmond Barracks in 2020, shares her experience of embarking on her own exploration with words.

If you’d like to see what Culture Connects workshops are currently running, take a look at our What’s On page.

Fledgling poets and authors

I am so grateful I decided to check out the workshop Culture Connects was having at Richmond Barracks. The first class I attended was in the January of 2020 and Dublin poet Enda Wyley was teaching it. I have always liked recited poetry but didn’t always understand it or ever think about what went into writing it. I wasn’t sure this workshop would be for me but I shouldn’t have worried – Enda captured my attention within the first five minutes and kept it for the entire class, every class.

The group of people attending were very diverse and came from several different countries. Enda’s talent at inclusivity was quite extraordinary, and it was amazing to see what she drew out of us over the weeks. Some of us joined that class thinking we would learn a bit about writing some prose, and weren’t sure at all about the poetry bit. Many of us had no clue or interest in writing poetry as we thought it was beyond our capabilities. As the weeks went on, it was clear that there were fledging poets among us and indeed some others who might well become best selling authors. The workshop was so popular that Culture Connects extended it for another six weeks. I was just delighted and enjoyed every single session.

The group got along really well and enjoyed each other. I looked forward each week to hear the work and stories of group members, and it was exciting to see the growth in our work.

Appreciation and curiosity

I know we all left with a new appreciation and curiosity for poetry and a lot of motivation to continue pouring out words on our blank pages. I learned so much from Enda, it was by far the best workshop I had ever attended, and I missed it when it was over. I found Covid 19 lockdown very difficult; the loss of spontaneity in my day was very unsettling, so when I saw I could join a repeat class on Zoom with Enda, I jumped at it and enjoyed it as much as I did the first one and learned even more. I was dreading the end of the class, but again I shouldn’t have worried – the Culture Connects team had lined up more for me.

Memoir writing

I was eager to sign up for the upcoming writing workshop—introduction to Memoir Writing with Eileen Casey. I had decided a novel was not in my writing future; short stories and essays were possibly the avenues for me. Eileen was fantastic and her straightforward, no-nonsense information was thought-provoking. Eileen not only discussed the ins and outs of writing and being published,  but we were also provided with all sorts of outlets to gather further information. The quality of the information I received from both workshops was extraordinary, as was the generosity, care and time invested in me by Enda and Eileen. I am incredibly grateful to Culture Connects for providing such first-class courses and teachers of such calibre.

I am looking forward to what Culture Connects has is in store for when Mr. Winter returns to Dublin.


Having lived in the USA for 43 years, MJ returned to Dublin in late 2017. (The picture above shows MJ at one of her favourite places in America, the Grand Canyon, with her beloved and much missed canine companion, CC.) Since returning to Dublin, she has enjoyed exploring a city that has changed vastly since she was a child, and reconnecting with her siblings. She has also taken part in both Culture Club and Culture Connects and met a wonderful array of interesting people through both.

She is looking forward to when Covid-19 restrictions ease so she can jet off to America to see family for a few long overdue hugs.


Discover more

If you’d like to be the first to know about upcoming writing classes, you can get in touch by emailing or sign up to our newsletter.

Posted 28 July 2021
Tagged with: News

Currently viewing the preview website,
NOT the live website!